Archives for category: Business

I had to put my 7 year old dog down last week.  Before judgement is passed the dog had attacked my 2 year old daughter, I spent 6 months trying to rehome her. Given her aggressive past no shelter was willing to take her in.  Lastly, 2 behavioral experts recommended euthanasia – I signed off on it.

Ethics and political beliefs set aside for the moment, I want to talk about decision.  Specifically, decision responsibilities that come with being a parent and decision responsibilities that come with being the leader of your company.  You know what’s right for your family and what is right for your company.  If you don’t, you have no business being in the business of either.

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trump-salute

Full disclosure, I am social liberal with moderate to left leaning economic and public policy inclinations.  Trump’s election signals real changes in the next 4 years.  Here are my fast takes and over-night plans:

1) AirTrack Factory US

We import equipment from China.  Trump has indicated that a trade war with China is possible.  If that happens, tariffs and taxes could rise to the point of making importing from China not possible.  We need to plan for either secondary supplier options or possible domestic manufacturing.  If we do that, I would want AirTrack Factory’s support and permission to do – negotiation, funding, supplier searching.

I’ll have to study up on the importing and exporting consequences of exiting NAFTA.  Thoughts to come.

2) SD UNITED /  Victory

Trump has indicated a role back of social services, specifically Obamacare.  If and when this happens all of my employees will suffer.  In their suffering, I would anticipate that they would look and – possibly even – demand from me help and support.  Despite my feelings and beliefs,  it’s not financially possible nor my moral responsibility that I take care of them when their government walks away.  It’s the government’s job and responsibility.  My state and federal taxes go to help the collective us – if we as a group have decided not to support one another – that’s our collective choice.  I need to be prepared to deny requests and redirect anger at the proper institutions.

A secondary consequence to the role back of social services would be an increase number of employees that leave expensive San Diego or take on other part-time jobs.  I should be prepared for replacing and hiring on a moments notice.

3) Me and My Family

Republicans have openly sided with the elite 1% and big business. Tax cuts, role back of regulations, government subsidies are all high on their agenda and will all pass.  The only people and entities that are “safe” and “protected” in the Trump Order are the rich.  I need to be sure I’m in that category.  Aggressive growth and expansion can possibly come from deregulation of the financial markets.  More speculative lending could lead to opportunities for me to get money.  I need to be ready to take advantage of those opportunities with ideas, businesses, and assets that can propel our personal financial status into the protected class.

The gyms have a hard-cap on potential income.  That said, with looser lending requirements asset acquisition of buildings or competitors might be more plausible.  The biggest potential growth area is AirTrack Factory US, Parkour Factory, and Cheer Factory.  These e-commerce based brands have very high ceiling for income and depend on sweat equity more than anything else – which we have in spades.  It’s potentially worth keeping eyes and ears open for more speculative opportunities including old ideas like Snowplex or new business opportunities like newly legalized marijuana dispensaries in California.  Anything and everything is on the table to ensure admission to the protected class.

4) Society

To me this signals the start of the “Get Mine” era.  The poor, the needy, women, the sick, minorities, immigrants, anyone other than myself doesn’t matter.  The all-mighty dollar has won out – for the time being – with profit becoming the golden idol.  Republican politicians like Cruz, Christie, Ryan, and Giuliani have all proven willing to sell their soles for their positions.  Democrats are just as guilty in their rigging of the primaries.To me this signals a break down of all grouping institutions.  Republicans aren’t looking out for you, Democrats aren’t looking out for you, Business isn’t looking out for you, Social Services will soon disappear for you to turn to.  That leaves only your family and yourself for you to turn to.I think this is important to realize.  Be sure to adjust expectations of others. Be ready for the cold shoulder from business and government services. Tighten your belt and ready yourself to depend solely on yourself and those closest to you. Know who you can trust. Most of all don’t waste your time expecting or asking more from those that aren’t going to give it to you.

There are real changes on the horizon and it’s my job as a business owner to anticipate and adapt.  The rules of the game are changing and you can’t not play the game.  The world is getting meaner and more competitive and my “12-hour-later-hot-take” is that I have to be prepared to battle.

Customer-Service-Be-Nice

From the title you can tell this is going to be a customer service post.  Or in this case a lack of customer service.  3 weeks ago a customer received their multi-product order.  One of the mats – for whatever reason not quite relevant to this post – they wanted to return back.  I handed the job of organizing the return to an employee who in his job description is responsible for these types of activities.

What followed was a 3 week stand off between my employee and the customer over who would print the UPS sticker to send the mat back first.  On the one side was my employee, who was making the case he didn’t know what size package the customer was going to send back so couldn’t setup the UPS shipment.  On the other was the customer, who claimed he shouldn’t have to do anything except print out a packing label and drop off at the corner UPS store.  This is a literal digital “you do it.. no you do it… no you do it” school yard stand off.

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act-bigger

Puffer Fish, Peacocks, Toads, and Owls all have one thing in common – they are great at making themselves appear bigger than they are.  Here’s where we as the small business entrepreneur can learn from nature’s great actors.  Be the puffer fish.

No matter the industry, people will experience your business in a variety of ways: website, social media, driving by, calling in, walking in, etc.  It’s important to do what you can to appear professional and established.  Obviously, the real answer here is money.  With enough money, you can buy the best of anything. Mission accomplished. But how do you do the same thing on a budget? Here’s some suggestions:

Professional Logo and Website Design on a budget
Technology has come so far, it’s so easy to do your logo and website right.  WordPress or Squarespace, Themeforest or TemplateMonster. There are plenty of resources for professional looking and available tools.  Don’t get me wrong, you will never do better than an expert. It’s why they cost so much.  But you can fake it until you get there.

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creative-financing

Reading between the lines of some of my past posts, you can see hints of this topic throughout.  As the point of this blog however is to bring real world examples to you tangibly, I thought it appropriate to talk about our financial acquisition of Victory Gymnastics and the initial inventory funding for AirTrackUS.

Victory Gymnastics Academy was bought through seller financing. To sum it up, the seller is acting as the bank for you.

  1. Pros: Save on fees, save on time, ability to work-in creative repayment options.
  2. Cons: Little to no in-depth background checks on seller and buyer, risk of seller not paying their obligations leading to foreclosure, risk of buyer abandoning business/real estate because of low investment risk.

As it relates to Victory, the $ 175k deal included zero down payment 5 year repayment term with 2 $ 10k balloon payments at the 4th and 6th month.  We worked a sale price out and then my CPA back calculated a fair and IRS believable interest rate to optimize tax write offs (9% in our case).

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complacency_header

Success breeds complacency, complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive. – Andy Grove, CEO Intel

For the last few months, I’ve been battling a problem. A generally good problem but a problem non-the-less. Successs. See, I’m a simple man, I don’t need much. So it doesn’t take much to make me happy.  My businesses basically run themselves.  I play ice hockey 2-3 times a week.  We’ve moved into a nice 3 bedroom home with big backyard.  I splurged on upgrades to my home computer.  Life is great.  But that’s a problem.

Laziness and bad habits (eating, sleeping, drinking) have started creeping into my life.  The fire and drive that compelled me into this venture in the first place have dulled.  I’m not me. And I don’t like it.

Google “Complacency + Entrepreneurship” and you’ll get pages of results about this exact topic.  I have two takes on it.

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My goal with this blog is to give practical real life insight into being an entrepreneur and being an adult.  SD UNITED  Training Center has been in existence for 2 years prior to the start of this website.  A lot of the trials and lessons are in the past.  The beauty of AirTrackUS is that it’s a business that is being formed as I type.

With that in mind, I’ll do my best to outline the process and journey.

The Back Story:

Teaching gymnastics and selling gymnastics equipment often time goes hand in hand.  You have a built-in show room.  You generally have access to customers (other gyms).  It’s a perfect match.  Dan and I have tried to establish a relationship with a manufacturer since we took over SD UNITED.  This generally involved us googling manufacturers online in our free time, sending them a blind email, and crossing our fingers for a response.  Enter AirTrack Factory.  We stumbled across them because we saw their product at a local gym and wanted to buy their equipment.  As we always tend to do, we stretched/steered the conversation into more than just buying their product.  A couple emails back and forth and we have an import agreement in place.

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